Trump, Offering No Evidence, Says Obama Tapped His Phones. This whole article is amazing. Here’s a small portion:
“It would have been difficult for federal agents, working within the law, to obtain a wiretap order to target Mr. Trump’s phone conversations. It would have meant that the Justice Department had gathered sufficient evidence to persuade a federal judge that there was probable cause to believe he had committed a serious crime or was an agent of a foreign power, depending on whether it was a criminal investigation or a foreign intelligence one.
Former officials pointed to longstanding laws and procedures intended to ensure that presidents cannot wiretap a rival for political purposes.
“A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” said Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for Mr. Obama. “As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.”
But a senior White House official said that Donald F. McGahn II, the president’s chief counsel, was working on Saturday to secure access to what Mr. McGahn believed was an order issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing some form of surveillance related to Mr. Trump and his associates.
The official offered no evidence to support the notion that such an order exists. If one does, it would be highly unusual for a White House to order the Justice Department to turn over such an investigative document, given the traditional independence of law enforcement matters.”
Mr. Comey, who made the request on Saturday after Mr. Trump leveled his allegation on Twitter, has been working to get the Justice Department to knock down the claim because it falsely insinuates that the F.B.I. broke the law, the officials said.
A spokesman for the F.B.I. declined to comment. Sarah Isgur Flores, the spokeswoman for the Justice Department, also declined to comment.
Mr. Comey’s request is a remarkable rebuke of a sitting president, putting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the position of questioning Mr. Trump’s truthfulness.
It’s a nice setup for those who want some government favor and can afford a six-figure check. And it’s a nice setup for Donald Trump.
The company says it has signed at least 17 letters of intent with potential developers. It is targeting an array of cities such as Austin, Dallas, St. Louis, Nashville and Seattle — and Trump Jr. said the campaign proved useful in forging relationships with potential new connections.
“I met people along the way that would be awesome partners,” he said.
Yet another person connected to Trump and Russia has died: Alex Oronov. Oronov was connected to Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, whom you might remember from his colorful threats to the Daily Beast over their coverage of Ivana Trump’s abuse claims.
Last week I wrote about Michael Cohen and his extensive network of personal and business relationships in the Ukrainian-American emigre community. One of those was a man named Alex Oronov, who runs a major agribusiness concern in Ukraine. Oronov was a partner in the ethanol business Cohen and Cohen’s brother Bryan set up in Ukraine about a decade ago. Oronov is Bryan Cohen’s father-in-law. Today we learned that Oronov apparently organized that ‘peace plan’ meeting that brought together Ukrainian MP Artemenko, Cohen and Felix Sater. About four hours ago Andrii Artemenko, the Ukrainian parliamentarian who came to New York with that ‘peace plan’, went on Facebook to announce that Alex Oronov has died.
Trump’s long history of racism is well documented, but this moment from Don Cheadle is just… wow.
Hated him since he asked my friend's father at a Doral pro-am if he'd ever "f*cked a nigger…" Did it for me … https://t.co/ypCNEPldH5
— Don Cheadle (@DonCheadle) March 4, 2017
Trump to unveil new immigration ban on Monday. Here’s the weird part: “Employees at DHS were instructed to work from home on Monday morning.” Are we planning for a Reichstag fire, or do we just not want anyone at work to answer the phone?
A friend of mine was driving thru Cambridge, Massachusetts and saw this sign. ummm… pic.twitter.com/p5KCpnkWaa
— Awesomely Luvvie (@Luvvie) March 5, 2017
Clarissa Arredondo, 43, is the mother of Adriana Aparicio, whose husband is a Navy veteran working as a contractor in Afghanistan. The couple has two daughters, 2 and 3, and Arredondo, who came to the U.S. more than 25 years ago, helped take care of them.
Across the Capitol, there’s a new generation of Republicans who have risen to power since the GOP last attempted to enact a sweeping agenda that would overhaul big pieces of the economy such as the health-care and tax systems. Quite simply, there aren’t many Republicans around with muscle memory of what it’s like to craft large pieces of legislation that rely almost entirely on votes from their side of the aisle.
The problem is particularly acute in the House, where just 60 Republicans — a quarter of their caucus — have ever served in the majority with a GOP president.
Moreover, more than 160 House Republicans are getting their first taste of working with a Republican president. Their entire legislative careers until now have been dedicated to stopping an administration’s actions.
Cabinet & Federal Appointees
Sessions Will Submit Amended Testimony, Address Senators’ Questions on Monday. Get your popcorn ready.
President Trump has appointed fewer than three dozen of the top 1,000 officials he needs to run the federal government. Worse, he doesn’t think that’s a problem.
The president seems to have lost interest in the nomination process after making his cabinet and Supreme Court picks, people involved in the transition say. Now, he’s trying to pass off his inattention as some kind of plan. “In many cases, we don’t want to fill those jobs,” he said on Fox News this week. “What do all these people do? You don’t need all those jobs.”
The Washington Post has a handy tracker for positions requiring Senate confirmation. Trump keeps complaining that Congress is dragging its feet on confirming his nominees, but there are currently 517 positions he hasn’t even nominated.
The Curious Case of Sebastian Gorka, Trump’s New Terrorism Guru. He’s advising on national security but doesn’t appear to have security clearance.
Under Trump, an Already Depleted I.R.S. Could Face Deep Cuts. It’s madness to cut the agency that’s in charge of bringing in money, unless perhaps Trump doesn’t like the fact that they expect money from him and his friends.
Trump’s budget proposal includes steep cuts to NOAA, surprising no one. Still, that’s depressing.
This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World. ‘“The Camp of the Saints” tells a grotesque tale about a migrant invasion to destroy Western civilization.’ It really is stunning; steel yourself before reading this.